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Monday, December 11, 2006

Add this to my book list

About 10 years ago, I picked up "A Marriage of True Minds: An Intimate Portrait of Leonard and Virginia Woolf" at a library book sale. It was a fascinated glimpse into one of the literary world's most collaborative and tragic partnerships. The tenderness of Leonard Woolf toward his fragile wife was wrenching. And the sacrfices he made emotionally and physically to that relationship were astounding. Around the same time, I had also picked up Leon Edel's "Bloomsbury: A House of Lions," and so dove headfirst into reading about that era and the prolific work produced by its members.

This review in Sunday's New York Times Book Review jostled that interest about the quiet, sensible member of the Bloomsbury bunch. From the review about Victoria Glendinning's "Leonard Woolf: A Biography":

His life was, in some ways, willfully ordinary: even on the day of Virginia’s disappearance, he “entered in his diary the cumulative mileage of his car, plus the mileage for that day,” and on the afternoon of her cremation, he went to have his hair cut. And yet, as Glendinning notes, the page of his diary on March 28, 1941, “is obscured by a brownish-yellow stain which has been rubbed or wiped. It could be tea or coffee or tears. The smudge is unique in all his years of neat diary-keeping.” In recording these small traces, Victoria Glendinning has given us the measure — noble, engaged and quietly passionate — of the man.


Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

Wendy, I've just begun reading your blog a couple of weeks ago, but you might be intrigued by the book that I'm currently reading. Not new, it's titled Marriage to a Difficult Man and written by Elisabeth D. Dodds.

It focuses on the marriage between Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards and his wife, Sarah.

Sarah sounds like a lively, intelligent woman, providing a foil to her brilliant but socially awkward husband.

Anyhow. You might be interested . . .

Wendy Hoke said...

Sounds very interesting. I'll definitely check it out. Book suggestions are always welcome here.

Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

This book definitely shows a different side of this fire and brimstone guy. Plus, I would have expected his wife to be more meek, mild (compliant?) than how she is portrayed.